Guinea pigs are some of the cutest, happiest, friendliest little pets we can own. They have a long history of being well-loved as companions and are generally pretty easy to care for. We highly recommend keeping a couple around. In this article, we discuss how to take care of a guinea pig.
What is a Guinea Pig?
These adorable, furry animals live natively in the Andes Mountains of South America. They belong to the rodent family of the Caviidae and have been kept as pets since the 16th Century when they were first imported to Europe and thought of as novel animals for pets by high society members.
Guinea Pigs are often called cavies, or piggies, for short. Despite the name, these rodents have nothing in common with pigs. The name comes from a series of Latin and native words that ultimately resulted in their common association today.
How to Take Care of a Guinea Pig
Before you get a new guinea pig, it’s important to know how to properly care for them, clean up after them, and feed them. Here’s an easy how-to on the subject.
1. Provide a Large Enough Home
Before bringing home a new guinea pig, it’s important to know how to take care of a guinea pig. For starters, get a cage large enough for these happy creatures.
Most guinea pig owners tend to get them cages that are too small, thinking small animal equates small cage. However, for guinea pigs, 7.5 square feet is ideal for a single guinea pig. A cage measuring 30 inches by 36 inches is approximately that size.
2. Provide Proper Bedding
Your guinea pig pal isn’t the most polite when it comes to hygiene.
They tend to go wherever they feel the need, unlike other animals that litter train. Because of this, it’s important to have absorbent bedding. We recommend using washable materials like fleece or some kind of paper. Recycled paper is an especially great option,since it also helps the environment.
3. Strongly Consider Getting Two Piggies
Guinea Pigs are social creatures. They do much better with companions, and live longer, happier, and fuller lives when they have a buddy. This will increase your costs some, but for the sake of the guinea pigs, make this a serious consideration.
4. Give Your Guinea Pig Proper Nutrition
Guinea pigs need a lot of roughage. Their little systems do well with timothy hay, and alfafa when they are young, though these should always be fresh.
Guinea pigs love fruits and vegetables, as well, and these are exceptionally good for them.
- Red, green, or yellow bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Dandelion greens
- Romaine lettuce
- Boston lettuce
You should also get guinea pig pellets. While your guinea pig can completely subsist on hay and fruits and vegetables, pellets will help to guarantee that your piggy gets all of the vitamins and nutrients he needs for a long, healthy life.
5. Giving Your Guinea Pig Supplements
Guinea pigs, like humans, do not produce their own Vitamin C. That means that you need to give them some Vitamin C supplements.
This can either be done through special guinea pig specific supplements, or guinea pig food that is fortified with Vitamin C. They can also eat vegetables and fruits high in Vitamin C, and may receive enough of this nutrient to avoid needing supplements.
Do not give them human supplements.
6. Keep Your Guinea Pig’s Home Clean
It’s super important to keep your guinea pig’s cage and play areas clean. For your piggie’s best health, spot-clean his living space daily, and do thorough cleanings at least once weekly.
- Restrain your guinea pig and take him out of his cage.
- Give your guinea pig a hiding place where he can chill while you clean.
- Remove soiled bedding from the cage and wash or dispose of it.
- Wash out the food and water dishes with hot water and simple soap.
- Change out food and water.
- Clean out old hay and replace with new, fresh hay.
- Take advantage of his time out of the cage to give him a grooming session as well.
7. Let Your Guinea Pig Out to Play
Remember that your piggy is a bit of a mess, so be sure to keep him in a playpen with a good, solid lining that will clean easily.
The Basics of Guinea Pig Care
Including those high ,in Vitamin C. We need to give guinea pigs plenty of space in their cages, and a place to play for even more exercise. We need to give proper bedding to guinea pigs, and regularly clean their cages. All of these things make for a happy guinea pig.